LONDON: Bastian Schweinsteiger made a surprise matchday comeback for Manchester United against West Ham at Old Trafford. He was only an unused substitute for a 1:1 draw at Old Trafford but even that was progress for him in front of a capacity crowd who included Hollywood actress Julia Roberts.
But while Schweini was back, Jose Mourinho was off again. United’s manager was sent to the stands in the first half by referee Jon Moss for kicking out angrily at a water bottle.
Schweinsteiger, previously exiled all season by Mourinho, replaced Michael Carrick who suffered a minor injury in pre-match training. The decision represented a total U-turn by Mourinho who had only recently reiterated his readiness to rid himself of the player.
Germany’sWorld Cup-winning captain, sitting amid a row of substitutes, watched a lively duel between the two Uniteds.
Mamadou Sakho put West Ham into a surprise early lead to which United responded with an equaliser created by world record signing Paul Pogba and scored by free-transfer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Mourinho was then sent to the stands for the second time this season for protesting that Pogba had been booked for a dive, a fifth domestic which rules Pogba put of the midweek League Cup derby against Manchester City.
On October 29 Mourinho was sent off for dissent for protesting at half-time to referee Mark Clattenburg over a penalty refusal. He was banned for one game and fined £8,000. Mourinho, while Chelsea manager, was sent off for dissent also against West Ham and also by the same referee, Jon Moss.
When United did make substitutions it was the other Bundsliga exile, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who replaced Juan Mata. Marcus Rashford gave way to Wayne Rooney, one short of Bobby Charlton’s United 249-goal United record. All to no avail.
Earlier Theo Walcott indulged in a rock-the-cradle celebration in honour of his new baby after scoring a crucial goal as Arsenal beat Bournemouth 3-1 to end a run of three successive draws and maintain their own Premier League title pursuit.
Alexis Sanchez scored the other two goals and also hit the bar for an Arsenal team in which Mesut Ozil was always a creative danger on the counter-attack.
The Cherries were briefly level through a Callum Wilson penalty and were unlucky not to be awarded another for hands against Nacho Monreal.
Walcott’s goal was his sixth in the league, one more than he managed in the whole of last term. The England winger’s tally is his best in the top flight since 2012-13, when he scored 14, and he helped Arsene Wenger’s side extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 19 games.
Arsenal remain fourth. three points behind leaders Chelsea and two adrift of Liverpool and Manchester City.
Southampton beat Everton – and former manager Ronald Koeman – by 1-0 with a 41-second goal from Charlie Austin while St0ke won by the same margin at Watford with an own goal from keeper Heurelho Gomes.